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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 To Do List

I'm generally about the worst about getting things done. I've considering inventing a new t-shirt with a writable area so that I can simply keep my current task list in public view. It's one of the reasons I started the blog, actually, to make dev diaries more of a public record so that I might have more of an impetus to finish things. If you go back into the archives, you'll see that I've left a couple of Unreal mods unfinished (and at this point we can probably considered abandoned). Out of the projects since - only Carter got to see the light of day.

I preface this in a such a way to put a "to do list" in a relative light. These are the gaming related project I may or may not be finishing:

Carter 2.0
For lack of a better term. I'm still working on inter-hyper-whatever fiction. I don't know what to call it - just "IF" seems simple and abbreviated. I want to put back in enough aspects of a "storyworld" that the player feels more in control while maintaining the core concept of being able to "write out" the story without much interference with a filter or parser. This will probably have more DHTML elements and quite possibly more straight up RPG elements as well (perhaps even the inclusion of a character sheet with skills and inventory).

The biggest shift here is the basic interface. Carter was based on the concept of the player "poking" at the story - often somewhat blindly. Find nouns, add verbs, see what happens. I'll remove the "find" completely - active nouns will be highlighted in some manner and probably to indicate what kind of actions will be possible against it. Actions will probably be organized as cards or some cardlike manner so that they're easy to identify and understand. There might be a stock set of cards like "examine" and "use", while "Fire Gun" would be reliant on the player having a gun (so basically the character sheet will control the card set).

Of course, part of the problem of using writing as a core is ... you have to write. I started one narrative - but I might scrap it for now and try another that might be a little less expiremental and easier to fit into a game style framework (more straight up genre). Even with all of this reworking - the biggest challenge remains the conflict between elements of story and elements of gameplay.

It's also possible that I'll gear a version for the Wii, DS and/or PS3 browser (pending the ability to test on any of those).

iTunes Game
This is still a major interest for me. The controls have caused the most problem because iTunes doesn't support a key up event. Moving to mouse control would mean leaving the concept of coop behind - but I think it will be the way to go. The more I try and game on the Mac I gotta say - I really hate about 99% of keyboard control scheme. Yes, they're great for shooters and when you need an abundance of keys. It just sucks when you're doing constant movement. When you're button mashing. Maybe this is the carpal tunnel talking - but I don't find typing repeatedly much fun ... even if it does cause explosions.

Mouse control imposes new technical problems, of course. I don't have nearly as good of sample code and I'm not sure how geared iTunes is for it either. Still, I think it's compelling gamespace. You have access to one of the best kinds of random data possible, an application window geared for entertainment and a user who is possibly looking to chill out a bit. There's a technical ceiling, sure - but you're also free from worry about things like sound effects.

I'd like to do just more writing in the non-interactive realm. This year of NaNoWriMo made me miss the days of being able to write near constantly. Course, that was college and I was essentially an unemployed beatnik. I'm actually having fun with the spam poetry project - even though it must be the least marketable thing I've ever done. Might be right for a downloadable PDF or the like.

Getting something publishable would be the long term goal. It's not a necessity for writing - writing can be simply a hobby. But I do think that convincing someone else to pay for your work is a perfectly noble goal.

Well, that's the plan at least. Two out of three would be nice. Course, this is pending any other crazy ideas I hatch between now and the completion of anything else.

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